A Breathalyzer machine is often used to help police officers in Arizona and elsewhere determine a driver’s blood-alcohol level. However, it is generally accepted that these devices have an error rate of between 15% and 23%. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why Breathalyzer tests aren’t always accurate.
The test can detect alcohol present on your skin
Although a Breathalyzer is designed to measure the amount of alcohol present in your breath, it can also detect alcohol on your skin. For instance, if you wearing aftershave, cologne or perfume, that may alter the test results. The same may be true if you recently used hand sanitizer or if you recently came into contact with bleach.
Medical conditions can minimize the effectiveness of a Breathalyzer test
An accurate test result may be difficult to obtain if you have allergies, a cold or a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is because medications used to treat these ailments may increase the amount of alcohol that is in your system at the time the test is administered. Vitamins, asthma medication and certain products used to treat toothaches can also lead to problematic Breathalyzer test results.
Sugar can be converted into alcohol
If you have recently eaten ripe fruit or consumed a fermented soda, you may have an elevated blood alcohol level. The same may be true if you have had protein bars or various pasta dishes that are cooked with alcohol. Finally, you may blow a higher number on a Breathalyzer test if you have recently had bread or other baked goods that are made with yeast.
Drunk driving charges are generally considered to be misdemeanor or felony criminal offenses. Therefore, it is a good idea to hire a criminal law attorney to help with your DUI case. An attorney may be able to dispute the results of a Breathalyzer test or cast doubt on other evidence that was used to determine that you likely violated the law.